Biography of George T. Smith

George T. Smith is one of the veteran editors and newspaper men of Kansas and owns and directs the editorial management of the Marshall County News. The Marshall County News is an old and influential paper in Northern Kansas. It was first established in 1869 as the Locomotive. The first proprietor, P. H. Peters, sold it in 1870 to Thomas Hughes, who changed the name to the Marshall County News.

This branch of the Smith family had furnished several notable names in Kansas and in Marshall County. George T. Smith is a brother of the late James Smith, former secretary of state of Kansas. George T. Smith was born at Elders Ridge, Pennsylvania, June 13, 1853. His grandfather, James Smith, came from County Tyrone, Ireland, became a farmer in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and died there some years before the birth of George T. Smith. Robert Smith, the father, was born in the vicinity of Elders Ridge, Pennsylvania, in 1825. He died there in 1906, having spent his life as a farmer, stock buyer and merchant. For three months he was in the Pennsylvania State Militia during the Civil war, and helped to run down the Confederate raider John Morgan and capture him in Eastern Ohio. Politically he was a republican and was an active member of the Presbytorian Church. Robert Smith married Sarah Wray, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1827 and died at Elders Ridge June 13, 1860. Of their children the late James Smith, who died at Topeka in 1914, was the oldest. He was a pioneer in Marshall County and. filled various county offices, including county clerk and county treasurer. For three terms he was secretary of state of Kansas, and was also a member of the Legislature. Robert W. Smith, the next in age, is a retired farmer living at Frankfort, Kansas. John W. was a Union soldier and was with Grant’s army in front of Petersburg, where he was killed. William H. was also a veteran of the Civil war, and is now a retired merchant at Marysville. He served two terms in the Legislature, for twelve years was postmaster of Marysville, and for two terms was county treasurer. Matthew was another soldier and died while with the Army of the Potomac. Daniel, who died at Frankfort, Kansas, was a retired farmer at the time of his death. Mary died at Elders Ridge, Pennsylvania, at the age of sixteen. Elder is in the mining business at Idaho City, Idaho. Henry was a farmer and resident of Marshall County, Kansas, but died at Liberty, Missouri. The ninth and youngest of the family is George T. After the death of his first wife Robert Smith married Mrs. Mary E. (McKelvey) McNeil, widow of Robert McNeil, a Pennsylvania farmer. She died at Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. By the second marriage there were four children, two of whom died in infancy. Albert is a civil engineer living at Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, and Hiram is a member of the same profession and also a resident of Saltsburg.

George T. Smith grew up in his native locality of Pennsylvania, attended the rural schools in Armstrong County and also the Elders Ridge Academy. He left school at the age of twenty years and came to Kansas in 1874. For a few months he was engaged in farming along the Vermilion River in Marshall County, and in the fall of 1874 came to Marysville, which had been his home now for forty-three years. He was employed as deputy county treasurer under his brother, James Smith, and also as deputy county clerk, but on January 1, 1881, he entered upon his duties as the new proprietor of the Marshall County News in association with C. E. Tibbetts. A yenr later he bought Mr. Tibbetts’ interest. He is one of the very few newspaper men in Kansas who have been continuously identified with the publication and management of one paper for over thirty-five years. The Marshall County News had always been a steadfast republican organ and is now the official paper of Marshall County. The plant and offices are in the First National Bank Building. The paper had held its own in the way of patronage through all these years, and is now widaly read not only in Marshall County but over the state.

Mr. Smith himself is an active republican. He served as supervisor of census for the Fifth Congressional District of Kansas in 1910.

Mr. Smith and family reside in a comfortable home on North Street in Marysville. He married in Marshall County, in 1877, Miss Katy L. Allen, daughter of O. C. and Joan (Osborn) Allen. The parents are both now deceased. O. C. Allen was a merchant and county supervisor in Illinois, and in the ’60s came to Kansas and became a pioneer farmer in Marshall County. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the parents of five children. Ora A., who is assisting his father in the Marshall County News, married Myrtle Sellers. They have one child, George William. Robert S., the second son, is a printer by trade and though a resident of Marysville is now a volunteer member of Battery A, Sixteenth United States Field Artillery. Veda L. had taught school in Marysville eight years, and is now living at home. Ena Mary married Ralph Hunt, who is a teacher in the Politechnic Institute at Blacksburg, Virginia. They have a daughter, Dorothy. Charlotte Elizabeth married Henry L. Johnson, a jewelry merchant at Marysville. Their one child is named Mary Elizabeth.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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